CLEVELAND – Pau Gasol knows that business oversees everything else in the NBA, but still called his likelihood of being traded from the Bulls by today’s 2 p.m. trade deadline, “improbable.’’
While the veteran big man has not talked to members of the front office this afternoon, he did speak with them on Wednesday, as well as making sure that his agent has been kept up to speed.
“There are really no guarantees in this business,’’ Gasol said after the morning shootaround in Cleveland. “And it is a business at the end of the day, particularly when a team is struggling and things are not going the way people expected them to. Sometimes decisions are made. Whether they’re right or wrong, it happens. I think it’s improbable that anything will happen. But it’s fun to talk about it, isn’t it?’’
Then asked if his feeling was he wouldn’t be moved, Gasol again responded, “That’s correct. But I could be wrong.’’
At least as of yesterday, the Bulls were very reluctant to part with the 7-footer, according to sources. And teams that they have had dialogue with about Gasol, they’ve made it a point to ask for almost unrealistic returns just to see if they could get a nibble.
The source said that the big hurdle for this organization is that there are no deals out there that will make the Bulls better without Gasol for at least this season, and after an offseason in which they removed Tom Thibodeau from his coaching chair, to fall short of making the playoffs would be a disastrous look.
And while Gasol was very open about the possibility of being traded, he was also very open about his future with the Bulls.
The 35-year-old will opt out of his player option at the end of this season to become a free agent, and did say that the Bulls are the frontrunner for a team he would want to play for. However, it came with some ifs, mainly focused around if this team can show some character over the final 30 regular-season games and dig out of the hole they’ve been playing in the last month.
“Again, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, and I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, because I want to worry about how I can help tonight, my team beat Cleveland, and put ourselves in a good position by moving up in the standings for the last 30 games we have left,’’ Gasol said. “So it’s hypothetical of what’s going to happen, but how these 30 games play out will give me information of how I want to … or how my decision will be influenced for sure. How we handle this situation and if we’re able to overcome it, get more together and united and stronger or we give up or are content with it. Because that tells a lot, it tells you a lot about the character of a team and the people you are around with.’’